NASA’s Juno spacecraft, on a mission to study Jupiter’s interior and its magnetic field, successfully entered orbit around the planet late July 4 after completing a critical maneuver.
Juno fired its main engine as planned at 11:18 p.m. Eastern time July 4, slowing down the spacecraft as it made a close approach to Jupiter. The engine shut down 35 minutes later, within one second of its planned duration, placing the spacecraft into a 53-day orbit around the planet.
“We have the tone for burn cutoff on delta-v,” mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced to cheers as they received telemetry from the spacecraft that the engine had shut down at the end of its burn. “Welcome to Jupiter.”
“NASA did it again,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, at a press conference shortly after orbit insertion. “Now the fun begins with science.”